Monday, March 31, 2008

Would You Like to Buy a Hamburger?

In honor of April Fools Day we decided to bake up a batch of pretend hamburgers for our friends. You still have time to whip up a batch for dinner! Here's how:

Start by making your favorite sugar cookie dough. I used my mom's recipe. Her secret is the nutmeg. Mmmm! But don't worry, the pre-made pack of sugar cookie dough from the grocery store works, too.

I did not chill the dough, but just grabbed a hunk of dough straight from the mixer and rolled it into a ball a little bigger than walnut sized. Then I flattened the balls slightly, sprinkled half of the cookies with sesame seeds, and baked until lightly browned for the perfect sesame-seed-buns:


Open up a York Peppermint Patty. Where's the beef?


Sprinkle on some "lettuce". Start with a baggie of dried coconut flakes. Add in a drop or two of green food coloring and mix it until it looks like lettuce.

Don't forget the condiments:

Yellow and Red frosting looks just like ketchup and mustard, don't you think?


Place the bun on top and voila! The perfect sham-burger!

To make the burgers even more authentic, run by your nearest fast food joint and ask for a few unused hamburger wrappers and bags. Our BK was happy to help. And Emily is happy to demonstrate proper bagging form:


Thank you Family Fun Magazine for that great idea!

We have make Sham-burgers a couple of times. When Hannah was in preschool, McDonald's was doing that dollar burger thing. April Fools Day happened to fall on the dollar burger day. So, we made up a batch of burgers, all wrapped in McDonald's paper, and delivered them to some friends. Our joke bombed as they never called or commented about the burgers, and I was kind of afraid to ask. I have a feeling they threw them away before opening the bag...

But that same day, just as we were heading out the door with the burgers to deliver, Nathan arrived home from work. I hollered at him as I buckled the kids into the car. "There's a burger for you in on the table." He later told me that he was a little upset that I had let his burger get cold, but he was hungry so he started to put it in the microwave. He realized there was something fishy about that burger before he actually warmed it up. He he he! Sorry Nathan.

I'll let you know tomorrow if our brand new neighbors like the burgers or if my little joke falls flat, again...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Where Did Spring Break Go?

Our 2 week Spring Break has come to its end, and I survived! Whew!

I'm not sure where the time went, but here are some highlights:

We dyed eggs

We hunted eggs

We watched some friends fall out of the sky

We visited the Laie Temple

And spied a natural bridge.

We also:
got rained out of our hike to Manoa falls,
watched the sunset over Waikiki Beach,
swam at the Hale Koa hotel,
slept in,
went running,
won a bingo game,
went to play practices,
watched movies,
got sunburned,
almost broke an arm,
and saw turtles body surfing at Ali'i beach.

To top off our two weeks of fun, last night while we were warming up around a bonfire with some old friends we watched a whale splash his tail at us as the sun set at Sunset Beach.

Happy Easter!

I just wish I had been able to take surf lessons and meet Jrzy Army Wife. Maybe next week...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Water Park Fun

I didn't take the camera. No photos. Those are all strangers in the photos below. Just thought I'd get that out there at the beginning.

Last week my friend Sarah asked if we would be interested in going to the waterslides (Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park) with them. I was a little reluctant because I didn't want to ruin their family fun, but she talked me into it and I'm glad.

If I was on vacation in Hawaii for a week, Hawaiian Waters wouldn't be on my short list of things to do, but it is advertised as the #1 Kamaaina Family Attraction (local family attraction) so if you're here a little longer, like us, and want to spend your tax refund (why do water parks cost so much?) it could be fun.

We started off our day with the kids going on the scariest ride in the park. The Cliffhanger. I like to call it the wedgie-maker. Sydney was fearless and went for it. Hannah had to be talked into it. A little peer pressure did the trick. And once she went down she loved it and went several times. I did not go on it at all.

While the big kids were going down a waterfall John, Emily and I raced down the Volcano Express. John kept asking if it was a real volcano. No John, just cement, okay buddy? He and Emily laid down on their mats and I pushed them off before they had a chance to change their minds. Emily went again, John and I did not.

John and I and Sarah and her little ones spent a lot of the day in the kiddie pools. The water slides were just the right size for John and kept the kids happy for hours while we took turns on the other attractions.

Sarah totally tricked me into going on the wickedly scary Shaka ride. It is like a giant half-pike with water. The fact that the ride worker was wearing a parachute harness was not comforting. But Sarah made me (peer pressure, again) and I'm a teensy bit proud of myself for not chickening out and crawling down the stairs. Hannah said I had my mouth wide open in a silent scream the whole way. (hawt, as usual.) I only did that ride once.

It was a fun start to our Spring Break. The park wasn't too full. The sidewalk wasn't too hot. And we had a great time. The kids are all excited about going back when Nathan comes home...

Tomorrow = egg dying, laundry, and sewing. Not quite as exciting as today.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday Night

I'm sitting in the dark at the computer. And my face feels like it's coated in cement. I feel the worst breakout of my life coming on, and I'm trying to stop it by using a scary blemish reducer face mask. I look scary and I feel like something out of the Black Lagoon.

But the kids are in bed. So all is well!

I'm trying something new this Spring Break. Putting the kids to bed at bedtime. Sounds like a good idea, right? I think so too. But for some reason I usually get extremely lazy during vacation and kind of forget about bedtime. They still put on their jammies. They still brush their teeth, but I let them pull out blankets and pillows and we all lay down in front of the TV for a bedtime movie. They eventually fall asleep and I fall asleep and we wake up to a mess of blankets and pillows and crinked necks.

I'm a little embarrassed to even admit that. Mom of the year award... and all that.

This vacation is going to be different. No late night family movie marathons (except for Friday Night. If I get rid of that I'll have mutiny on my hands.) Nope. Bedtime is still on. This is day #1. I'll let you know how it goes....

Spring Break

It is Spring Break and we're in Hawaii! Woohoo!

Two weeks off is a long time without a plan. So I have to make a list. These are things we COULD do over Spring Break, not necesarily things we WILL do. I'm just thinking out loud here.

Hanauma Bay
Lighthouse hike
Dillingham Field to watch sky divers
Manoa Falls
Water Park
Call housing about the lights
Surf lessons

Temple Trip
Waimea Bay
Ali'i Beach
Shave Ice
Get my hair done
Camping at Bellows
Meet Jrzy Army Wife
Sew Easter Dresses
Dye Eggs
Ala Moana Mall
Hale Koa Pool
Waikiki Beach
about all the fun!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Girl Scout Cookies Ahead:

Why did we order so many boxes?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Too Much To Do

Sometimes I have nothing going on and nothing to write about. Other times I have too much to do and too much to write about. This is one of those too much weeks.

To help keep track of my crazy day it's time for a

To Do list:

Make a list
Littles to School
Go to Middle School
Set up Dart Board fun
Run the totally rockin' dart board booth
Pick up John from Preschool
Pick up littles (don't forget, Wednesday is early out)
Decide if it's possible to go VTing on Thursday (okay)
Drink a lot of water
Do some laundry
Tidy Up
Piano Lessons
Play outside with John and Em (I didn't, but I did set out paint and glue for fun)
Hope Nathan calls (whoohooo!)
Fix Dinner - crock pot? (no, spagetti)
Go to a Movie (Fun!)

That should do it.

What are you doing today?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Field Trip

Our preschool group took a field trip into the jungle today.

Do you dare go into that deep dark jungle?

We saw some really big rocks

and some really big leaves.

Hey guys, wait for me!

This jungly park is right in the middle of our little town. It is one of our favorite places to take a quick picnic. It has a lot of interesting vegetation and some trails that are just the right length for a few 4 year old boys. If you decide to explore Wahaiwa Botanical Garden, don't forget your camera or your mosquito repellent.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

At Risk?

I was reading an article in a magazine the other day and it's really starting to get on my nerves. I'm here to ask if you've experienced this or if I'm out of line.

I got this totally awesome package from my big sister, Laurie. I almost cried when I saw the big bag of peanut m&m's and the little gifts for each of my kids. And I really did cry when I read the article in the Brain, Child magazine she had marked for me (great article, must blog about that another time.)

Later that night, though, I was reading the magazine in my bed when I saw something that kinda irritated me:

Kids who live with their grandparents often have left homes plagued by drugs, violence, illness, or extended military deployment. (in the "News and Other Gleanings From the World at Large" section. Brain, Child winter 2008)

Okay, not "kinda". I'm totally irritated.

I know kids of deployed parents do live with their grandparents when both parents deploy at the same time. Writing this blog post reminded me of my friend Ursala, whose baby who went to live with grandma and grandpa for 3 months while Ursala and her husband's deployments overlapped. Also, our neighbors who are both Active-duty Army would prefer to both deploy at the same time while the kids stay with Nanai or else one of them will always be deployed and they will never see each other.

So, I know both parents do deploy, now more than ever before. And I know that in dual military families the parents have to have some kind of guardianship set up with grandparents or other guardians (I remember a story in the newspaper when we lived in Texas in 2003 of a single Airman taking on the care of 2 children while their parents both deployed, I wish I could find a link to that story, it was pretty cool and I think it had won some kind of Air Force news award. anywho...)

It makes me sad and a little angry to see children of deployed parents grouped in with violent druggies. Like kids of illegal drug users and Army Brats are the only ones who live with grandma. Not kids of single mothers, or kids of divorced parents, or kids of teen parents.

Which reminds me of a magnet I have stuck to my refrigerator, titled: 10 Ways To Tell Your Child I Love You. I received the magnet as part of a helpful pre-deployment packet. I finally got around to reading it one day and noticed some rather odd ways to tell your children that you love them, such as "Make sure your children eat healthy foods, exercise regularly and get enough sleep" and "Protect your children. Make their safety your top priority." Not bad or anything, just strange in a child-protective-services kind of way. Turns out it is printed by the Bureau For At-Risk Youth. Hmm.

I guess I just hadn't thought of my children as "At-Risk" in the same way as a foster kid rescued from a raging abusive druggie step dad. Programs for At-Risk kids are like Midnight Basketball leagues to keep kids off the streets. Or afterschool chess clubs for inner-city schools or something. Not MY kids...

Do you consider your child to be "At-Risk" when your husband is deployed?

I'm not saying we couldn't use some help. (some days more than others) I'm just not sure I can blame it all on deployment...

On the one hand I do want Mr. Secretary of Defense to realize the huge affect a deployment has on our children. On the other hand, I try to keep our home life as normal as possible. And I think we're doing great. I don't want my children given a stereotypical negative label that won't help my children, and won't bring their dad home any sooner.

I watch with (trepidation? worry? wonder? horror? interest? fascination?) awe at the way my children are adjusting and living and celebrating life while their dad is in Iraq. And I wonder how these deployments will affect them - next week, next month, and for the rest of their lives.

What do you think? Does this dude look At-Risk to you?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

It's Aloha Friday

Your daughter needs a pa'u or hula skirt. This is very important. You can run downtown to the International Market Place and pick one up for $40. Or you can head over to the swap meet and grab one for $25. Or, for just $6 you can sew your own.

Go to Walmart and pick out two yards of your favorite Hawaiian print fabric. Just get the cheap $2.99/yard stuff. While you're there, you'll also need a pack of 3/8" elastic.

It's hard to choose my favorite pattern. I love all the bright colors and flowers.

There's no need to pre-wash, so get ready to sew!

Open out your fabric and fold it in half matching the cut ends. You are going to sew those edges together as the side seam of your skirt. Some fabrics have a definite top and bottom, others don't. That will determine how you cut it. Once you decide how long you want the skirt to be (it should hang down a couple inches past the knee) add on about 4 inches for the waistband and trim off the extra length. (I cut mine at about 32")

Sew your side seam right sides together, then finish the seam. A big zig-zag works, or you can use your serger. Now you have a large tube of fabric. After you iron that seam flat you'll want to zig-zag the top edge, too.

Iron about 4" down at the top edge.

This is what takes some time. You are making the casing for the elastic. Start by sewing a 3/4" seam at the top of the waist band. Go all the way around the 2 yards and finish by stitching over the beginning of your seam. Scoot your presser foot over 3/4" and go around again...

You are going to go around 4 times, each seam 3/4" away from the last seam. I used 3/4" scotch tape to mark the distance on my sewing machine, but if you are brave you can eyeball it.

When the waistband is finished you can live dangerously and finish the bottom edge of your skirt now with a little rolled hem. Or be safe and wait until your skirt is finished to let your little hula girl try it on before you hem it.

Look at those four sections at the top of the skirt. The first one will be a ruffle at the top. The next one will be elastic casing. The third one will be empty. And the fourth one will have elastic. Pick open the side seam of sections 2 and 4 to insert elastic. That is so confusing in writing...

A large safety pin attached to the end of the elastic makes inserting the elastic much easier. I didn't have any safety pins, but I found that large paperclips work, too. I think it's easier to insert both elastics at the same time. Have you done this before? Just squish and slide the elastic through the casing while the fabric gathers at the top.

Tie off your elastic when you get back to the opening. You can trim off some of your elastic, but it's okay to leave some extra to make your skirt adjustable.

Now you're ready to kaholo!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Homework Helpline

I know Sydney has a book report (complete with a model of the main character made from a soda bottle and a styrofoam ball) due next Tuesday. I haven't picked up the styrofoam yet...

I know she's working on a coloring book about Taro. And a research project about immigrants to Hawaii through the ages.

But I didn't know anything about the giant 10 page report (due tomorrow) on the Holocaust...

I found Sydney crying in front of the computer, paper and pencil in hand. She was looking for 10 facts about Israel (assignment item #1). Did you know that of 7 million people in Israel 5.7 are Jewish? or that Israel has the highest book printed/person rate in the world?

It took us 6 hours of hard work, more tears, and a little blister on her right hand middle finger to finish her report which includes a Venn diagram (item #9), a watercolor painting of a cellar (item #2), and an acrostic poem (item #3):

W ishing for
peace, happiness,
freedom, dad home.

A fraid of

R emember
the Holocaust
Don't let it happen again

We, er, I mean, She better get an A. or an MP or ME or whatever that new-fangled grading system is...

For the record, it was a really interesting assignment with some great learning opportunities and no silly stuff like word searches or color by number. Sydney really knew her information and was full of details from the book and articles they had read in class. I just wish we had started the project a week ago...

I'm looking forward to reading a few of the Holocaust books that Sydney listed (item #5) in her report.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A Note from Nate

I wrote a note to Nathan yesterday to tell him about this and that - I filed our taxes, John wants a new boat, Emily is in the talent show, etc. I also mentioned that I made an extra big payment on our car, but for some reason it was taking a few days to go through. Nathan wrote back with a theatrical interpretation. I laughed and chortled and guffawed, and I thought you might enjoy it, too. I hope he doesn't mind if I post it here:

I wouldn't worry about the car loan principle delay, it always takes a few "business days" to "transfer", but it really adds up to more interest that they can charge the principle. I wonder how many hundreds of millions of dollars the loan industry makes on these "pennies from heaven" each year. Disgusting! I wrote a play about it (Prairie Dawn comes to mind -"Welcome to our play!").

A screenplay that I've been working on. Watch as our heroic protagonist, Wendy B. gets thrown under the proverbial bus of life in 2008's epic...

Loans and Lenders are Evil, Lazy and Corrupt et al.

Scene I.

Wendy: "Here's the money!"

Bank: "mmyea, we'll get to that payment in a few days" (Manager of evil, filthy-lucre conspiracy to him/herself: "Mmmwaaha ha ha! At this rate, my Christmas bonus will be bigger than last year! I can't believe she's trying to pay off her loan early and save money on MY hard earned INTEREST! THEEE NERVE!...)

(a few days later...)

Wendy: "Um, I posted a principle payment of $000 dollars a few days ago, and..."(sharply interrupted)

Bank: "Yes Mrs. B, we have your request, unfortunately due to our very busy schedule (manager is playing solitaire on computer while waiting to make a last minute e-bay bid) we require 5-7, (clearing throat) Hchmmmm, business days before you will see changes in your account."

(at lunch that very day)

Scene II.

Manager (to Employee): "How's your business going?"

Employee: "Oh, well enough, but people are paying off their loans early...I don't get it?"

Manager (putting arm around shoulder of employee): "We need to have a talk..."


I particularly like the Prairie Dawn reference and the busy manager playing solitaire and watching his ebay auction. Silly!

I would just like to mention that things seem to have calmed down for him in the last week or two. For the first 6 weeks or so of the deployment, it was rare for us to recieve much in the way of phone calls or emails, but lately (we just past the 2 month mark) he's been able to call almost daily and (as seen above) his emails have moved beyond the 3 sentence response. Much better!

Off now to see if that transfer has gone through...

Monday, March 03, 2008

Isn't That Odd?

I saw the strangest thing this morning.

We were walking to school past the PT field behind our house, like we do every morning. Some guys (and girls) were still counting and doing pushups. Some of 'em were doing pullups at the pull up bar. Some were coming back from their run. And some guys were standing around all sweaty and grassy.

One guy was smoking.

He did not have a cigarette, but his head was totally smokin' hott. He was shaved completely bald and mist was rising from his head, swirling into the air. I'm not kidding. This really happened.

It looked like he was wearing a cloud-ish stocking cap, staring at his forehead and rising up from the back of his head. It was like the exact moment of evaporation when liquid water changes to gas, happening right on that dude's head.

I have never seen that before. I don't know if the light was just right, with the sun shining bright behind him. Or if it was because of the cool morning temperature (around 70 degrees). Or what. But it was pretty darn cool. I wish I had my camera...

If the kids hadn't seen it, too (and pointed and asked loud questions) I would wonder if I had actually seen it.

Most unusual.


In other news, I went on my regular morning run, just before sunrise. As I was heading out of our neighborhood (in about the same place where we later saw the smoking man) I stepped on a rock, twisted my ankle and almost fell down. Oh the embarrassment. And ouch! My ankle is still a little sore. But I went with my dad's favorite advice of "keep walking on it" and made it through my 3 miles without any other trouble.


And - last item of business - I filed our taxes today. Woot Woot! I heart TurboTax!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Good Breath

John helped me blow up balloons for Sydney's big day (this is the last birthday post, I promise!) I didn't even realize he knew how, and when I asked him how come he was so good at blowing up balloons, he said:

"I just have good breath!"

I love that guy!


It seems like it's either feast or famine around the Tiki Hut. Lately I've just had nothing worth writing about.... sorry!

This week my goal is to write something every day, even if it's just keeping track of my miles run. Go me!

Where in the World is Sydney

As part of Sydney's Birthday fun we went on a photo scavenger hunt around base. Hannah was our photographer for the event. We rode our bikes (I have a feeling we were a pretty terrific bike parade) to some interesting locations:

Here's Sydney and John at a castle.

Who is hiding behind that palm leaf?

There's Sydney and Emily with their bikes on the rolling hills. A fun place to ride!

Here is Sydney and a tank at the museum.

Stay 10 for a while, okay Syd? No need to speed up!